MTV's reality show 'Real World' appears set for St. Thomas

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ST. THOMAS - Is it The Real World, or not?

The island is buzzing with the news that the location of the 27th season of MTV's reality television show, The Real World, will be St. Thomas.

But no one is actually talking.

"As of right now, we don't have a comment on the 27th season of the Real world," MTV publicist Tamika Young said.

V.I. Tourism spokeswoman Allegra Kean-Moorehead said: "Unfortunately, we can't comment on the film project until the production makes their formal announcement."

It is a secret. So, naturally, everyone knows.

Local vendors, contractors, artists and bars have been doing swift business with the show's producers and crew in preparation for filming.

Some landlords have gotten new tenants who have agreed to short-term leases of five or six months.

Vendors have been paid with checks that say "Real World 27" and have a matching address to the show's production company, Bunim/Murray Productions.

Crew members flown in to build the sets and work on the production have told locals that the production plans to be in the territory for about five months.

Last week, the house on Hassel Island, where it is rumored the roommates will live, was lit up like never before. But the lights were strange, dimming and brightening as if they were being tested.

The Real World is a reality television program on MTV that was first broadcast in 1992. It is the longest-running program in MTV history, and one of the longest-running reality series in history. It is often credited with launching the modern reality TV genre.

The show usually brings about eight twentysomethings together to live as roommates in a house. Not just any house, a hip residence with edgy art, a pool table, jacuzzi or pool and all the product-placed food and beverages they can consume.

In this case, the house belongs to local businessman Ricardo Charaf, who bought the residence and about 10 acres on Hassel Island from the Paiewonsky family in 2007 for $7.5 million.

Hassel Island was part of the Paiewonsky family's holdings since the late 1920s, when the family acquired the entire island.

In the late 1970s, the family transferred most of the 130-acre island to V.I. National Park.

The St. Thomas Historical Trust has recently spearheaded efforts to clean up the island and showcase the historic structures for the public. Hiking trails now lead visitors to unique ruins and landmarks like the Creque Marine Railway, the Garrison House, Prince Frederik's Battery, a leper sanctuary, Shipley's Battery, an 18th-century cemetery, Cowell's Battery and Signal Station.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email

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